Thursday, June 30, 2016
State of the Blog: Year Three
"Sooner or later, it just becomes your life," sings Bruce Springsteen.
Not to compare this blog to prison, which is what the song "Hard Time" is about.
Though both do have certain daily routines. Jail has head counts and mealtimes and cell inspections; the blog has click counts and post times and reader comments.
With the end of the blog's third full year today—1095 consecutive days—it's now a bona fide ingrained daily part of my life, and maybe yours too. But just a part, a small part for you, and a larger-yet-still-not-all-that-big part for me. More of a regular duty, like flossing, only I don't floss with equal diligence.
Enough throat-clearing. To the all-important stats. Year One brought 385,679 hits. Year Two, 499,423. This year ... drumroll please ... 577,617, as of Wednesday morning, or 48,134 a month, for an increase over the previous year of about 13.5 percent.
Thirteen point five percent.
Not the sort of skyrocketing leap the internet is famous for.
Roughly half the increase of Year Two.
I'm not going to smear ash on my head and squat at the virtual city gates in mourning over my rate of readership increase slowing. I shouldn't care at all, and I suppose I really don't, not much, since I'm soldiering onward anyway. It gets more readers a month than "Moby-Dick" got in its first 30 years of publication, not to compare the two.
The news is generally goodish. June, and seven of the past 12 months, scored above 50,000 hits, which I decided is some kind of threshold of significance. Last August topped out at a record, 59,998. Nobody seemed to miss the 2016 poster, so not doing one was a good call. Though I do have an idea for a swell 2017 poster, so I might create one anyway, just for the fun of it. There was a flash of real media recognition: every goddamn day was the only news organization to cover the arrival speech of the Sun-Times new publisher, Bruce Sagan, and Crain's Chicago Business used a photograph of mine, crediting the blog, so that was fun.
Still, the value of the blog seems greatest to myself. When I reached into the buzz saw of gun nuttery earlier this month, I could carefully explain what happened right here, without worrying about getting the thing into the newspaper. The process was medicinal, and helped me squeegee the right wing spittle off my body.
The blog made a little money, thank you Marc Schulman and Eli's Cheesecake, which for the third years ran advertisements at Thanksgiving and Christmas. The ads led to at least one order, I am certain, because I ordered a cheesecake and sent it to Tate—or, more accurately, his kid, at his request—as thanks for his scrupulous volunteer copyediting of the blog. Which reminds me, I should write a post on the idea of Gratitude Sweets...
Another day. At moments when there is not a lot to say I've been trying not to say a lot. So in closing out Year Three, thank you for reading, and for commenting, and for caring about this almost as much as I do. This blog strikes me as significant, and while that must be an error on my part, driven by the vanity and myopia that inspires so much error, it is my error, and I am sticking with it. Everyone else clings to their folly, why should I be any different?